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AUDIO - DUwHF #718 - Travis Rodgers
Prior to RecordLinc, Mr. Rodgers founded start-ups, BrightWhite Teeth-Whitening, Mustang Technology Inc. (sold 1997), Talent Roundtable, and PLM Solutions. He was an integral force to take both Taleo public and in selling VirtualEdge to ADP Inc. in 2006. He has been selling and marketing software for almost 20 years for companies including IBM, Oracle, ADP, VirtualEdge, and Taleo. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Business School with an emphasis in marketing and entrepreneurship. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Rodgers has been active and successful in building businesses; forming, financing, and staffing new companies, growing them into revenue generating enterprises, and taking them to liquidity.
Howard Farran: It is just a huge honor today to have, probably, the most number on serial entrepreneur I've ever known, Travis Rodgers come over to my house today for a podcast. Thank you very much, Travis.
Travis Rodgers: Thanks for having me, Howard.
Howard Farran: Do you ever watch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Travis Rodgers: No. I don't. Maybe I should.
Howard Farran: This year I saw the list that was entered, and one of the names, it's always crazy when you see someone entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that you've never heard of. There was this guy and he was the behind-the-scenes writer and producer for some of the biggest bands in history. I feel that way with you. You have your fingers in so many projects and so many industries. My God, I get a ...
Travis Rodgers: I thought you were segueing there because last week I actually got inducted into the Hall of Fame in Los Gatos for Los Gatos Athletics. That was a good [crosstalk 00:00:55] segue.
Howard Farran: Is that right?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. Yeah.
Howard Farran: Is that right? For what sport?
Travis Rodgers: I played football in college. I did track, wrestling and soccer in high school, so it was a real big honor.
Howard Farran: Nice.
Travis Rodgers: It was a big honor.
Howard Farran: Wow. Well, congratulations.
Travis Rodgers: Thanks.
Howard Farran: Travis grew up in Silicon Valley and is a dental technology and dental marketing expert. He is the inventor of many innovative dental software products and is currently the CEO and founder of RecordLinc dental software and CEO and founder of DrDDS Dental Marketing Agency. Rodgers is passionate about bringing innovative products to the dental industry. Rodgers is the author of several e-books, including "The Referral Machine for Dentists." Prior to RecordLinc and DrDDS, Rodgers founded several other companies including BrightWhite Teeth Whitening, which he sold, what, a couple weeks ago?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: And Mustang Technology, which he sold in '97. RecordLinc is a custom dental software marketing platform that develops innovative software solutions to help dentists acquire more patients and streamline processes. My gosh. If we went though the history of every one of your projects, it'd be a two-hour podcast. What do you want to start with today? Congratulations on selling BrightWhite.
Travis Rodgers: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, for me, it's all about figuring out what the need is. We have pitched new product ideas almost every day. We talked about two a week and determine what products make sense, who's got the financing behind it, and a lot of them are dentists that have an idea.
In fact, I was in Silicon Valley last week and we're building in insurance verification tool for a dentist in Silicon Valley. A couple weeks ago, we started the development on a patient cost estimator and then we also are now just finishing up case management tools. We roll out a new product in the dental industry almost every three weeks, so it's rapid development.
Howard Farran: Everybody in America complains about the cost of healthcare and we spend almost a third of the healthcare budget just on the paperwork of the insurance. I've tried a lot of those insurance verification products and I still, 30 years later, have a full-time human calling each patient's insurance, going through the sheet, because everything we tried has been a disaster.
Travis Rodgers: That's good feedback. Those are all lessons learned, and honestly, although I'm an innovator in things that I do, I like to take things that work in other industries and bring them to the dental industry, so instead of recreating the wheel and learning ... I think the key is learn some of the lessons from what didn't work for you and let's make it better this time. I think a lot of it is usability, user interface and the design of the products and people just get turned off. Whatever we can do to have it happen automatically in the backend, that's what we do.
Howard Farran: Because the only secret to lower prices is lower cost, and you can't sign up for PPOs, which deduct your fee 40% and not have any corresponding 40% reduction in cost. They won't switch your [inaudible 00:03:57] back to amalgam. They won't switch from an hour and a half appointment for a crown to one hour or ... You have to lower your cost. I love the fact that you do that. Tell them, tell my homies, what is RecordLinc. If they've never heard of RecordLinc, and that is the website ...
Travis Rodgers: Recordlinc.com.
Howard Farran: I've got so many websites from you.
Travis Rodgers: With a C. With a K. We own both, but yeah, RecordLinc is ... Initially we built ...
Howard Farran: Ryan, could you send me RecordLinc?
Travis Rodgers: We built RecordLinc initially to help increase referrals for dentists. That was where we started. That's what we're known for, but RecordLinc is-
Howard Farran: Is RecordLinc at Integrate Dental?
Travis Rodgers: No, Integrate Dental is one of our brands. Integrate Dental is what connects ... We connect all the practice management systems and the dental offices together, so the-
Howard Farran: The website is Recordlinc-
Travis Rodgers: Recordlinc.com.
Howard Farran: Can you send me that, Ryan?
Ryan: Just did.
Travis Rodgers: RecordLinc, it's a platform that integrates with the practice management systems and allows different activities. It's really a productivity platform in a sense because we're helping ... We started with referrals. We've expanded out to secure communication, companies like Spear Education. They have their practice management division that they just launched and they're rolling out RecordLinc, our secure communication, so sometimes put in encrypted e-mail category, but it's much easier than encrypted e-mail to platform-
Howard Farran: That's what Imtiaz Manji's been working on for ...
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: ... about a year. He was on our show.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: When he's rolling that out?
Travis Rodgers: We're doing integration work for them. We do quite a bit of stuff for them. We do marketing for them as well, but yeah, no, Spear is a great company, innovative, doing a lot of really neat things. Anyways, referrals is where we started. Secure communication, the integration with various practice management systems. Inside of that, really, what we built is a whole series of other tools like electronic heath forms, marketing analytics.
We're almost complete with our case management tool. We have some patient reminder stuff going on, patient recall. Anything that will help a dental office be more productive. We have a scheduling application that we built for a call center called Patient Focus that basically allows a third party company to go in and spill your schedule with seats. Right now we've got, like I said, four projects that we're working on for dentists. The patient cost estimator, the case management.
One of, I think, our hottest products right now is an implant case management tool. We have literally 2,000 different implants in the product that allows the implant dentists and the general practitioners to collaborate on the patient as they're taking them through the process for treatment. Same kind of case management tool could also work for ortho and other types of oral surgery, et cetera. We're taking that product, it should be live in just a couple weeks here.
Howard Farran: What is the website that ...
Travis Rodgers: Yep. You got it.
Howard Farran: Yeah, but I don't see the www.
Travis Rodgers: Oh. Well, it's secure, so it's a [crosstalk 00:07:04]
Howard Farran: Okay, so you go to www.recordlinc.com. Record, like the record layer, and L-I-N-C. Recordlinc.com. What are my homies going to find if they go to Recordlinc.com?
Travis Rodgers: RecordLinc is really the dental platform. If you go up to the top here, you'll also see we have a patient application called "My Dental Files." This allows doctors and patients to be able to also securely communicate and collaborate and also allows patients to fill out forms one time and then it goes to all the doctors that they work with. Imagine if you're a patient. You don't have to walk in the office and spend the first 10 minutes filling out forms. That's what My Dental Files-
Howard Farran: This is an interesting thing. You never talk about religion, sex, politics, violence, but every PhD [inaudible 00:07:49]
Travis Rodgers: [crosstalk 00:07:50] I've heard you talk about all those.
Howard Farran: I never.
Travis Rodgers: I'm just kidding.
Howard Farran: It's funny because when I got my MBA at Arizona State University, those PhD people would say that ... People would just complain about their taxes, but what costs more is regulation.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: It's funny how this HIPAA thing ... It's probably cost America a trillion dollars. Every time you turn around, there's something about OSHA and HIPAA and all that. Why did they do HIPAA? Because you're all this compliance stuff. Was it a good deal? Was it necessary or just total bullshit?
Travis Rodgers: I think they had the right intention when they started. It was just such a poorly written act and it took so much interpretation. If they were just clearer on exactly what the guidelines were, and I think they've tried to get better about it. Until somebody goes to jail and they give us the reason why they went to jail and then that becomes the rules and the laws ... Think about what works in America. It goes all the way up and all of a sudden judges decide something and then it becomes a law.
Howard Farran: If you actually went to DC and said, "Let's just close down HIPAA, and while we're at it, OSHA and the Department of Education," people would just think you were insane.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: It's like since they started the Department of Education, Ronald Regan, 1980, America's status and education has fallen, fallen, fallen, and every patient I have that's a teacher says, "All they do is try to educate these kids for all this DC crap," but HIPAA I ...
Travis Rodgers: Well, HIPAA, what I'm talking about, I'm talking about in the dental industry. That's what we help companies do. We help our dentists maintain HIPAA compliance, so the secure communication. Still, a lot of the dentists are sending information via e-mail, and so what we've done, and we're actually almost done building an app inside of the Dentrix ... We're working with the Dentrix team on building an app where when somebody tries to send an e-mail through Dentrix, which is not HIPAA compliant, we actually grab onto that content and then send it through the RecordLinc portal. Imagine, you can still use the same functionality, but then we're kind of enabling the security of it as well.
Howard Farran: What does this cost? If someone's listening to this, is this something they sign up for?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, it's build to be modular, so we have a lot of different tools and people have patient reminders already. They have recall. They have other components of it. Maybe scheduling through Zocdoc. We now have the product where it's built to be modular, and so yeah, if they give us a call and they tell us, "Hey, I'm just interested in referrals," it's based on module by module. Today, the pricing is all in. For specialists, it's 350 a month and for general practitioners it's 150 dollars a month.
Howard Farran: GP is 150 a month and specialist is ...
Travis Rodgers: 350, and that's really in keeping in concept-
Howard Farran: Why is that? Why [crosstalk 00:10:48]
Travis Rodgers: Well, the specialist ... RecordLinc is the largest network of dentist in the world, so we literally bring in two and a half million records on dentists, bring it into our database, merge it together, and we get 300,000 dentists out of that. Not just dentists, but also dental consultants, and we have 30,000 dental vendors in there. What we do is we take all that-
Howard Farran: What percent of that is US? Is it a US play or-
Travis Rodgers: Mostly US. We have about 50,000 globally. We have the largest global database of anyone. We have companies like Plan Mecca, Ultradent, you name it. Most of the top brands, Banyan, they use our database as their sales force database. For Banyan, as an example, they had 80,000. We added another 100,000 leads to their database. Imagine you have literally every piece of information on dentists out there, and it's great because as a person, as a consumer, you want to be highly targeted with what you're consuming. We do geo-fencing at the different trade shows, we do a lot of geo-targeting, we do retargeting. Honestly, I'm not interested in clothing and shopping and things like that. I want to see things that I'm interested in.
It's the same concept. We're taking that and what we're doing next is building a artificial intelligence brain, and I built this in the HR industry about 20 years ago. I worked Oracle and IBM, and we're taking the big data that we've developed on dentists and now we're going to apply that to patients. Imagine as a dentist, you can tell me who your ideal patient is. You have 100 of our ideal patients and you want to find 1,000 locally of who your ideal patients are and then target them wherever they go. Using artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning, we could put in you ideal customer, your ideal patient and then output the ideal next 5,000 patients that you may be interested in targeting locally. Some really cool kind of innovative technology that's been available in other industries. It's just the dental industry is behind.
Howard Farran: My job is to [inaudible 00:12:59] questions that my homies are ... They're commuting to work right now and they can't take notes. You dropped the name Zocdocs and then you said, "Scheduling online." That's kind of new.
Travis Rodgers: It is new.
Howard Farran: Talk about scheduling online. Are we close to patients will just go on the internet and schedule their own appointment?
Travis Rodgers: Very close. Yeah. Look at the new generation. They're all going to Yelp. They're going everywhere to get reviews, information, and they don't want to call anybody. They want to actually just go online and schedule it. You still have-
Howard Farran: You just said something very profound. When they came out with the ATM machine, all the banks thought, "Well, they're going to want full service." What they didn't realize is most people find dealing with other people stressful and they just want to deal with an ATM machine. I'm surprised at how many people do all their banking online and they don't want to talk to humans at the bank. What percent of the American market scheduling an appointment doesn't want to talk to your receptionists?
Travis Rodgers: Most.
Howard Farran: Would you say it's most? Is it a generational thing? Is t-
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, it's generational.
Howard Farran: Is it baby boomer [crosstalk 00:14:05]
Travis Rodgers: It's a technology. It's a ... Yeah. I think the perception of dentists is still that they want to talk to somebody, but honestly, I want an electronic reminder. I want to just go online and I want to actually even potentially, and this is maybe the downside for dentists, I want to figure out, "Okay, I have an availability on Wednesday, personally, and I want to go see the dentist on Wednesday at two o'clock." How about the ability to find that spot? Or ideally-
Howard Farran: That might be more important than picking the dentist.
Travis Rodgers: Sometimes-
Howard Farran: You might go to the dentist because I picked you because I could get in at two o'clock on Tuesday.
Travis Rodgers: Exactly, and [crosstalk 00:14:41]
Howard Farran: That would be lower cost because now you don't have a human talking to them.
Travis Rodgers: Exactly.
Howard Farran: [crosstalk 00:14:44] lower price, lower cost. I'd much rather schedule online.
Travis Rodgers: Exactly, and taking that to the next level, if you still want to have that touch, we can actually build in ... There's artificial intelligence that's already available that actually used your language, that can actually learn from what you've said and then speak to the patient in that same way. It's a text message and e-mail that would go back and forth that makes it seem like that's actually a human being going back and forth with the scheduling. Maybe if somebody wants to schedule via e-mail-
Howard Farran: When people throw around the term AI, artificial intelligence, how-
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, it's ...
Howard Farran: Where does the line fall between, "Okay, that has lots of fancy algorithms, does a lot of great tasks," versus just a computer intelligence?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, it's totally different. The-
Howard Farran: What's that line called? What is it when-
Travis Rodgers: What flipped it over, because artificial intelligence has been around for a long time, but we didn't have ... and the concept of big data has been around for a long time. The piece that was in between is called "machine learning," and so machine learning is what goes out, looks at all the data and then actually creates something valuable, because artificial intelligence without all the data and all the other things is relatively useless.
Howard Farran: It is obvious that as soon as we have thinking droids, that we were just the biological step between them, because they can go across the universe. Humans can't. This biological carcass was just a transition between DNA into machine, but droids will end up taking us out in force.
Travis Rodgers: See, that's the negative perception.
Howard Farran: No, no. It's obvious.
Travis Rodgers: They won't. Come on.
Howard Farran: Well, yeah, because-
Travis Rodgers: Don't stifle innovation just because of our own-
Howard Farran: They'll go across the whole galaxies and universe. You could throw one, shut off and it could go for a billion years, but your and me monkey body couldn't do that.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. No, true. The concept on the scheduling piece, you talked about Zocdoc, so the things that I like to do are taking things that work, but making them better.
Howard Farran: What is Zocdoc?
Travis Rodgers: Zocdoc is a scheduling tool. It's an online scheduling tool that basically ties into your practice management system. From what I understand, they don't necessarily have the read and wite access. I think they're working on that right now, but Zocdoc can basically send, potentially, a patient, and it's more of a lead generation tool. We took Zocdoc and actually improved upon it and did that double right back access to the calendar as well.
If you go to Recordlinc.com, you actually have a profile, all the dentists ... The reason why we built this database was actually to pre-build profile for dentists and then you go in and claim your profile. If you go to RecordLinc, you search for yourself, you're probably already in the database, and from there you can do your scheduling. We have a reviews platform that we've built as well, and we have-
Howard Farran: If you go to Recordlinc.com, record L-I-N-C dot com, you're saying that-
Travis Rodgers: There's a dental search function there [crosstalk 00:17:49] search.
Howard Farran: Am in there?
Travis Rodgers: You're in there.
Howard Farran: I am in there? How do you do this? Should I type in Howard Farran or just Fabio?
Travis Rodgers: Sure. Either or. From there, once you find your profile in there, there's a button that says, "Claim your profile." We allow everybody to have a free profile in there, and then basically you can claim your profile and use the full functionality. We don't want to limit anyone to be able to receive information, so we also have dental vendors in there and dental practice management consultants because we want to be able to have dentists collaborating securely, especially, in particular, when we're rolling out implant case management, tools like that, because with our implant case management tool, the treatment, part of the plan is actually working with your implant sales rep or team to be able to get you the right part at the right time so you're not buying a bunch of implants and wasting that money or potentially leasing them when you don't need to lease them and more taking the just-in-time processing to the dental industry.
Howard Farran: I know that target marketing stuff would be good if you're an orthodontist and wanted kids [inaudible 00:19:06] for ortho or I guess the implant people would like older people.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. What's been the most effective marketing tactics for you?
Howard Farran: Well, you really want to know?
Travis Rodgers: [crosstalk 00:19:18]
Howard Farran: I don't know how to say it, because is it ... When you say guerrilla marketing-
Travis Rodgers: Does that work for you or-
Howard Farran: Is it G-O-R-I-L-L-A ...
Travis Rodgers: G-U-E-R-R-I-L-L-A. Yeah.
Howard Farran: You're going to go with guerrilla.
Travis Rodgers: Long-time guerrilla.
Howard Farran: Yeah. Mine was actually when I opened up on Saturdays and Sundays. I took a backpack with toothbrushes with my name on it and a flashlight and this in my backpack because this ... I didn't even have a computer. It was 1987. I got a big map [inaudible 00:19:50], which is actually Phoenix, Arizona, 85044, and I walked every single ... It took me six months to knock on every single door and say, "Hey, Travis," or "Hey, how you doing? Hey, I'm Howard Farran. I'm 24. I just opened up next to Safe Way, Today's Dental, and I'm going to be here, I'm going to practice," so I'm probably 75 and I just thought I'd get out and meet the neighbor. I had about two out of three people just thought it was weird a dentist knocking on their door. They were just like, "Oh, okay. Well, thank you," and then closed the door.
The third guy would be, "Here. Hold my beer." He'd be in his underwear. I'd be standing there and every third house I talked to for 10 minutes. They'd make appointments, and I wouldn't quit on Sunday. I gave every new patient an hour and a half and I had totally booked Monday through Friday, hour and a half, and it was just ... That was the best marketing I ever did. Then the second best is ... These millennials don't want to hear it because they hate direct mail. They throw it away. They think you're cutting down trees and killing owls, but man, every time I mail something, I would say one out of every 100 people that it hits their house, they come in.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: They hate that, so they want to build their whole office on Facebook. What do you think is the best marketing?
Travis Rodgers: I think it's a hybrid of all of that. I think some of the old marketing tactics are now becoming new tactics, like the direct mail, the door to door-
Howard Farran: By the way, if you're wondering what I'm doing, I'm taking notes and sending you a ...
Travis Rodgers: No, that's okay. I'll send you the correct profile. I'm not sure if you found the right profile on yourself, but yeah, inside of your RecordLinc profile, we have what's called a special offers tab, and inside of that you can offer up free teeth whitening for new patients or what not, but to me, and this is why I've written The Referral Machine, Referral Autopilot, a lot of different white papers on how to increase referrals, the most effective way and the most efficient route for getting new patients is referrals.
Referring is human nature. It's just a matter of how referable you are. Look at your office. Would a patient be proud to refer their friend over to your office? Is your staff friendly? To me, we do a lot of consulting with dentists on how to become the most referable dental office in their area because achieving the higher rate of referrals is really key to successful dental practice today. The mentions are right here. Referrals already have a positive attitude to your practice and require little encouragement.
Their pre-sold on who you are. They're not going out and saying, "Oh, I'm going to go to Howard because he's available at two o'clock on Friday or go to him because his filling is one dollar less than yours." If you really want to have that high quality, and that's what RecordLinc has always been based on, is increasing that referral base.
Howard Farran: Well, the biggest thing [inaudible 00:23:08] referral is when I go buy a bottle of water, I know what it is. I don't care whether I get it at Circle K or 7-Eleven or Safe Way. It don't matter. I know what it is, but when you're selling something invisible, if they come in referred, we know they buy three dollars. If they come in un-referred, they don't have trust, so they buy a dollar.
Yesterday, I had this woman just ranting ... Loving because she came in, but she was talking about our air conditioning. She said she knows if I call, and you know who it is, the biggest guy on TV here, she goes, "I know they're just going to try to sell me an air conditioner." I gave her a name of a patient who I've known forever that will just do the right thing, and she called me up on my phone. She said, "Thank you so much." She goes, "He came out here and he said your air conditioner will last another 10 years. You just need blah, blah, blah," and charged her 120 dollars and she tipped him 20 and called me and said, "You just saved me five grand." When you're selling invisible, when I go to you and you say, "Well, I have four cavities. They're 250 each. Give me a thousand." How do I know that's true? They have no idea, so referral is the key to everything.
Travis Rodgers: Well, and what RecordLinc does with referrals is it immediately engages with that referral, so imagine you can still use the same things that we're talking about, the scheduling, the patient cost estimator, all these pieces as a component of it just to get them more educated and get them even more ... Even get them, if you can, potentially get them even more ready to be a patient of yours, but a lot of dentists have that failure to engage, so that's where The Referral Autopilot is, is basically is the ability to immediately engage with that patient and take them through the scheduling process, educate them on who you are, and then just make them comfortable. We actually are doing a lot of video work with our dentists as well because we want to have that warm and cozy feeling when somebody comes in. They know who you are. They know your voice.
Howard Farran: It almost sounds like you're building a website.
Travis Rodgers: You talk to Ed Zuckerberg. I'm sure you talk to Ed.
Howard Farran: I podcast him right there.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, so Ed, and obviously he's got a biased opinion on this, but he's saying that websites are going away, and we have actually, we've built free websites for 200,000 dentists. It has about you, it has a video, there's a gallery, there's scheduling, there's new patient generation, reviews, everything that a website has, but it's built within what almost feels like ...
RecordLinc has been called the Facebook of the dental industry. I kind of equate it more to the LinkedIn of the dental industry because it's really a professional network, right? Inside those profiles, inside your profile, imagine if you could do everything inside of that profile without even needing a website because this is a functional website. It's almost like taking your website and adding 10 different widgets to it from 10 different products all in one.
Howard Farran: Well, that's why I really, really, really love lecturing around the world, because you drink the Kool-Aid when you live in one tribe and you don't realize ... For instance, there's 220 countries. Only 20 of them have dental insurance, and the other 200 countries, you buy your dentist like your iPhone, but when you go to Asia and Africa, they don't [inaudible 00:26:22] websites. They only have a Facebook page.
Travis Rodgers: Yep.
Howard Farran: It's all they have. You almost won't find a dental website in Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia. It's all Facebook.
Travis Rodgers: I hate to say it because I have a lot of friends at the dental website companies, they also tie you to them and make it really hard to ever go anywhere else. I'm a fan of enabling dentists and enabling their staff, so you'd better have something that's easy on the backend to manage.
Howard Farran: It's WordPress, right?
Travis Rodgers: WordPress is one of the more common ones.
Howard Farran: Yeah, and you need to build your own website from scratch, and if you don't know how to do it, just go to your local middle school and find some 12-year-old kid to come help you and just start your own WordPress because if you use those other sites, it's canned, so how SEO is a site if 500 people have the same site, the same article, the same deal? It's not going to get high ranking.
Travis Rodgers: No. Honestly, even with that, though, even WordPress doesn't have the functionality that you want. WordPress doesn't ... They have a lot of plugins. They have a lot of different things that you can plug in. It starts getting heavy and complex. Really, what do you need? You need who you are, how do they get in touch with you. We have an electronic health forms piece, so literally patients can fill out forms prior to coming into the office-
Howard Farran: You're saying they should use the website you've already made for them?
Travis Rodgers: I'm not trying to make it a sales pitch for RecordLinc, but that's the part that excites me.
Howard Farran: I have no problem with sales. I have a problem with dentists who don't like to sell dentistry. I wish they'd just quit and go be a fireman or a policeman or whatever. I call a dentist [inaudible 00:27:59] because my homies just want the bottom line. They sell crowns and bridges and bleaching, so why can't you sell yourself? My homies listening to you right now, they can go claim a free website?
Travis Rodgers: Getting their profile, it's free. Yeah. We give them a trial and they can check it out.
Howard Farran: Where do they find their profile?
Travis Rodgers: Just at Recordlinc.com and you can search for yourself or give us a call and-
Howard Farran: Was it RecordLinc, was the "linc" a play on LinkedIn?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, exactly. The concept of RecordLinc is we almost think of it as the internet of dental records. We want to connect all the practices together where they can securely communicate amongst each other, but the other part of the linc is imagine ... That's the records part. There's two components of the linc piece, is the linking it together, but also, yeah, it's a play on LinkedIn.
Howard Farran: Say you're in Parsons, Kansas.
Travis Rodgers: Sure.
Howard Farran: Someone searching for dentists in Parsons, Kansas, they have their profile filled out in RecordLinc?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, and it's all search engine optimized, so typically we come on page one or page two when they google themselves, and we're working on that.
Howard Farran: My mom told me to stop googling myself. I don't [crosstalk 00:29:07]
Travis Rodgers: In high school when she caught you googling yourself for the first time?
Howard Farran: They go to RecordLinc.com. They claim their profile. They fill it out. Now, that fee, do they have to pay that 150 dollars-
Travis Rodgers: No, it's free to just use the profile. If they want to start adding colleagues and connecting, that's when we start adding the modules in there, but yeah, no, it's free. It's basically a free website.
Howard Farran: How many GPs have you got paying the 150 and how many specialists you got paying the 350?
Travis Rodgers: Well, we just launched the product about six months ago, so we're up to about 150, so it's still in its infancy.
Howard Farran: More GPs or more specialists?
Travis Rodgers: It's about, I would say, 10%, 20% specialist, and a lot of times what we do is you'll get a specialist that will sponsor the GPs in their area because they want to grow their network of GPs that they work with. If I'm a GP, I'm going to contact my specialist and say, "Hey, I'd like to collaborate with you securely through RecordLinc. Can you sign up and then give me a free account?" That's the way to do it, if I was a GP. That's how we built the model.
Howard Farran: Then they always want new patients. They never want to do anything to try to keep the customer for life. They just want to burn and journey. That's dentists. That's their gig. That's what they do. How will this help them get new patients?
Travis Rodgers: First of all, because all your profiles are search engine optimized, a lot of times patients will google them or they'll find the local dentist. We also have a few different websites where we have the best dentists in the area. Various pages that allow them to create new leads, new patients for them, but the other core for us, like I said, is that sticky referral, right?
Because we integrate with a practice management system, we know who the patients are. We can set up contests for them online. You can reward patients. We've talked about doing a rewards platform, but I think we walked the line on that one a little bit. The key to us is also education and newsletters. The next product that we're building is actually a patient relationship management tool. You've used CRM tools, like Salesforce over the years and things like that. Imagine if you had that same concept where you'd met someone, you just picked up their business card. You only got their e-mail or you got their Facebook page or whatnot. If you could start building more information around there, we have a whole series of tools that we use to add more data on the patient.
For our customers, we typically know 90% of their social media profiles for their patients. We use a tool called Clearbit, is one of them. Clearbit is a super powerful tool where if you can give Clearbit an e-mail address, it'll give you their photo, it'll give you their social media, it'll give you a description where of where they work. Imagine you have all this data on patients and then that's where it gets into the big data machine learning side of what I'm talking about.
We have all these data points on who your patients are. I think what we could do is if, again, through building out new tools, new innovations, I think there's tools that we can build where social media can be a part of it, but just in the concept of pure old-school e-mail marketing as well, sending out newsletters to your patients and asking them for referrals ...
Howard Farran: You were born in Silicon Valley?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, I grew up in Silicon Valley. My dad was one of the founders of Quantum Corporations. He was their first CFO. He was there for 16 years, so I grew up around innovation my whole life.
Howard Farran: Where were you born? San Jose?
Travis Rodgers: Los Gatos.
Howard Farran: Los Gatos?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, which is in between San Jose and Santa Cruz.
Howard Farran: Did you ever find the way to San Jose?
Travis Rodgers: I never did. No.
Howard Farran: You never did?
Travis Rodgers: San Jose was not the hotspot where I grew up. It's gotten better and better as [crosstalk 00:33:01]
Howard Farran: That was one of my favorite songs as a kid. Dionne Warwick, whose niece was ...
Travis Rodgers: Whitney Houston.
Howard Farran: Whitney Houston.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, that's right.
Howard Farran: From Silicon Valley, does it concern you that Google, when you look at their revenue, they lose a half billion a year trying to invest in all these other things, but at the end of the day, 90% of their money still comes from search. I think search is going to go to Facebook because when I search Phoenix dentists and it gives me eight ... How many hits would come up on that? Phoenix dentist?
Travis Rodgers: Thousands and thousands and thousands of hits, yeah.
Howard Farran: Ninety percent of their revenue is from search and 99% of their search results have no effect on me. The way humans think, if I was searching dentists in Phoenix and I was on Facebook and I said, "Well, you have five friends that have a dentist. Five. Four of your friends use Harry and one uses Lisa," now I can switch to my text and say, "Hey, do you like your dentist? I see you use Harry." I think social animals want a social search.
If I was looking for a guy to, say, inspect my roof. Well, I don't want some guy to come out who's just going to say, "Hey, dumbass, you need a whole new roof. Give me 20,000 dollars." I'd rather have a friend of a friend say, "You can trust Frank," and then Frank could come out here and I want a relationship. I think Google stock is very, very vulnerable if Facebook ever got their shit together and did search.
Travis Rodgers: Oh yeah, and Facebook is getting there. I run a lot of campaigns for our customers inside of Facebook, and a lot of it does come back to the review. I know you had Len Tao. Len is a good friend of mine. We do a poker tournament. I run a charity poker game with Bill Fitzpatrick from-
Howard Farran: For Donate Dental?
Travis Rodgers: Donate Dentist is separate. This last week we did it at CDA for CDA Cares and we had about 20 dental vendors, a couple dentists in there. We rent a room. It's always a fun event, and so it benefits CDA Cares. We pick a charity, typically a local charity based on the event. We do it in New York, Chicago, CDA, both CDAs and ...
Howard Farran: See, I could never go to one of those because I don't know what it is, but I can't play poker without a cigar and a drink. I'm sure they didn't allow smoking.
Travis Rodgers: Well, I don't know about the cup, but yeah. It was a hotel room, so you're quite right.
Howard Farran: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Travis Rodgers: It's a fun group, though.
Howard Farran: If you can play poker without a cigar, you've got something now. You're hardwired differently than me.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, and if you don't know Bill Fitzpatrick, he's a consultant. He's one of the most amazing guys in the dental industry that you'll ever meet. He's a good potential podcast in the future, because he consults and works with dental vendors to help them to develop strategic plans.
Howard Farran: Right on.
Travis Rodgers: Anyway, so ...
Howard Farran: What else do you want to tell my homies about?
Travis Rodgers: I think there's a lot of things-
Howard Farran: Oh, you mentioned Solutionreach. Isn't that in Chandler?
Travis Rodgers: Patient Focus is in Mesa. Solutionreach, they're a patient reminder service out of Utah.
Howard Farran: What's the other one in Chandler?
Travis Rodgers: There's DenteMax. There's actually quite a few dental vendors in the area here, but as far as Chandler, I don't know. RecordLinc. DrDDS is my marketing agency. I don't know if that's what you're thinking about, but there's-
Howard Farran: Yeah. Let's get Clarence [inaudible 00:36:37]. She's driving to work. She just opened up. She graduated five years ago. She did her time in corporate for three or four years. She got fast at fillings, crowns, root canals. She just bought her own place for 750 and it's working good, but she had 10 more new patients a month. She's already paying her rent, mortgage, [inaudible 00:36:55] insurance, malpractice. Anything extra, probably half of it's going to drop into her bottom line. She just said, "Do I need 10 more new patients a month?" What would you tell her?
Travis Rodgers: I think, for me, everything from a marketing perspective is testing, so figuring out what works and doing it on a smaller scale before you put the dollars into it. You mentioned some of the tactics that you use. I think direct mail ... I still get mailings from dental offices, so clearly it's working for somebody, so try that on a smaller scale. Some of the e-mail marketing that's available. I think, to me, one of the more effective programs is, ideally, profiling patients, not just focusing on you, but also patient success and testimonials and putting them into Facebook ads or posting them [crosstalk 00:37:46]
Howard Farran: Would you make that a video Facebook ad or ...?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, ideally a Facebook ad. There's multiple different types of Facebook ads. You can have an image. You can have multiple images where it kind of scrolls through the images or you can have videos. You always want the captions at the bottom because a lot of people aren't really listening to it because they're sitting in bed next to their spouse checking their Facebook and they don't want to interrupt anybody or they're doing it at work, so doing the captions at the bottom. Facebook campaigns have been very successful, but as that starts to get saturated, you need to figure out what's next. What we're working on right now-
Howard Farran: Do you think Facebook is getting saturated? Because you and I are old enough. This social media went from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook, and then you saw a bunch of kids jumping off Facebook into Instagram, so Facebook ran over there and bought that. You saw a bunch of kids jumping over to Snapchat, but Google, like I said, they went public and got a 27 billion dollar saturation. The average smart phone has 27 apps on it. Do you think there's starting to be Facebook fatigue or you think it's-
Travis Rodgers: It's coming. It may not be there yet, but it's coming just like every other [inaudible 00:38:55] eventually gets saturated and the price goes up accordingly as well, right? One of the things that we do is geo-fencing, so if you're familiar with the concept of geo-fencing, basically we can geo-fence all the dental offices in your area, all your competitors, and then send ad injections to the mobile phones of all of the patients that are in those areas.
You're an orthodontist, so Chamberlain is one of my customers here locally. He doesn't use the geo-fencing service. I'd like to, but he's got Blacker, which is an orthodontist right next door to him basically. How about geo-fencing or Tom [inaudible 00:39:35] office, saying, "I want to be-"
Howard Farran: He can block their ads?
Travis Rodgers: No. Geo-fencing grabs a device ID. Basically, you put the coordinates that you want to geo-fence. It's done via satellite, and you can actually grab all the device IDs. We have over 11 million from the dental industry that have been collected-
Howard Farran: They have my smart phone ID?
Travis Rodgers: They have your smart phone ID, so they can actually send ... Instead of sending you e-mails, because we have your e-mail address, they actually send your device ID in-app notifications. You go to the CBS app or you go to Dentaltown has other banners from other Google ad campaigns or whatnot, but basically we can send ads, and I did this for Planmeca at the California Dental Association recently where we geo-fenced the Anaheim Convention Center and then any time anybody came across that geo-fence and they opened up CBS, ABC, NBC, there's 100,000 different apps, it started sending them in-app notifications to stop by their booth to get their free Starbucks card. Same kind of concept for dentists. [crosstalk 00:40:37]
Howard Farran: That's almost creepy.
Travis Rodgers: I think it's super creepy, but at the same time-
Howard Farran: Also, I saw that Facebook and Google, that they can turn on your microphone and listen to you.
Travis Rodgers: I don't know about that one, but yeah.
Howard Farran: For search.
Travis Rodgers: Okay. Oh, for search. Yeah.
Howard Farran: Let's say we're jogging down the road and I say, "Hey dude, are you hungry?" "Yeah. "What sounds food?" "Mexican food." Then when you start to type "restaurant," it already knows these words in the play and I have seen a couple of creepy-
Travis Rodgers: Don't you like being targeted? Don't you like to have things of interest to you versus-
Howard Farran: You have to accept that privacy is just dead. People have been talking about that, the government and the NSA and all that, but free enterprise. Google probably knows more about you than the FBI, the CIA or the NSA. Wouldn't you agree?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. Yeah. No, definitely.
Howard Farran: You just have to-
Travis Rodgers: By the way, Google tracks all that. I have lawyer friends that work at Google and they often get in those situations where they actually have to release the data, so be careful what you're googling out there.
Howard Farran: Well, gosh, I've got to tell you, my favorite Dentaltown Google story. We were having a problem with Google, and of course, Google and Facebook, you can't get a human ... I was in San Francisco. I love Twitter. I went to Twitter's building and tweeted them, "I'm outside. Can I come in for a tour?" No response.
Travis Rodgers: No response.
Howard Farran: I went in there, and a security guy said, he said, "No."
Travis Rodgers: Pretty tight security.
Howard Farran: I can't talk to anybody in Google or LinkedIn or whatever, but on Dentaltown we had a serious programming issue. We didn't know what to do for a long time, so I got the idea. I just went on Dentaltown and I did a search for ... I found out the zip code of Google and then I went into Dentaltown, which you could do, and I did search for the dentists in that zip code, and 12 came up, so I private messages 12 dentists and I said ... "I can't spell out the exact problem so I don't waste your time. Does anyone have a Google employee that can help us with this?" I sent out those 12 messages. In an hour, [inaudible 00:42:52] contact e-mail can at dentaltown.com, CChoward@dentaltown.com. A dentist called back and said, "Yeah, I just referred this to my buddy and he said call him at this number, whatever." We solved it that day. It's that six degrees of connection. So you have lawyer friends at Google?
Travis Rodgers: I do. They will literally bring up the history, the search history if there's a ... They legally have to for that person. I want to close out the geo-fencing because I don't want you to think geo-fencing is creepy. It's not creepy. It's actually because you're just sending ads. It's ad injections that are available to those apps anyway, so don't think that geo-fencing is bad, but-
Howard Farran: Well, I did google, "What's the best way to get rid of the body?"
Travis Rodgers: Yeah?
Howard Farran: It actually said you actually throw it in a dumpster and go to the landfill because the landfill stinks so much it throws the dogs off, where you throw it in a lake [inaudible 00:43:44] bury it in the desert [inaudible 00:43:46]. Now, will they turn that over to the FBI?
Travis Rodgers: They will. Yeah. Yeah.
Howard Farran: They'll say, "We think Howard ..."
Travis Rodgers: I'm not worried about you.
Howard Farran: You're not worried about me?
Travis Rodgers: I'm not worried about you.
Howard Farran: Yeah, that is amazing.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, so I think when we talk about how we find new customers today, it's going to evolve, but the key to marketing is testing things out without spending a bunch of money on it and then figuring out what works. I think regionally it's different, and by product and by name recognition and the type of dentist that you are. It's figuring out what ... Part of it is keywords or some basic stuff, right? Get a decent website that's mobile responsive that adjusts to whatever device the people are accessing [inaudible 00:44:28] kills me.
Howard Farran: I'm so embarrassed that I'm mobile responsive on Dentaltown, it's almost done. We've been working on it for ... We have five programmers who have been working on it for half a year, but if you download the Dentaltown app or the Hygiene Town app, they're working on that app, I think it's spectacular, but as far as a mobile ... What do you call it? Mobile ...?
Travis Rodgers: Mobile responsive.
Howard Farran: Mobile responsive. Dentaltown, if someone just goes on their phone to Dentaltown.com, it's going to be mobile responsive. Hey, what would my homies find if they go to DrDDS.com?
Travis Rodgers: It's D-R-D-D-S. That's our marketing agency. We work with dental vendors and dentists. We're a full-service digital marketing agency.
Howard Farran: You do that right here in Chandler?
Travis Rodgers: We do that in Chandler. We work with, like I said, companies like Banyan, Planmeca, Ultradent [crosstalk 00:45:19]
Howard Farran: Banyan in Salt Lake?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, they used to be Social Dental.
Howard Farran: Yeah. How do you work with Banyan? I would think that would be a competitor to DrDDS.
Travis Rodgers: No. Not really, no. We're partners with them.
Howard Farran: Banyan used to be Social Dental?
Travis Rodgers: Social Dental. Yeah. They do build websites and they do the reviews piece and some of the social aspects, but they partner with us on the marketing side. Speak Education, we do e-mail marketing for them. We have about 150 customers that we work with [crosstalk 00:45:50]
Howard Farran: Now, can you talk about the Spear Education thing you're rolling out with Patterson Dental and Eaglesoft?
Travis Rodgers: Spear is doing some very innovative things. In fact, they're, in my opinion, the company to watch right now. They just hired a really impressive group of practice management consultants. Basically, those practice management consultants, what they're using is they're rolling out RecordLinc as their secure communication tool between the dentist and the practice management consultants, and the practice management consultants are a very experienced group. Like I said, very impressive group, but their goal is just helping the Spear customers be more effective, more efficient with their practices.
Spear also is rolling out ... We've done a couple integration projects for Spear with Eaglesoft and had some great success there. Then I'm hopefully rolling out additional tools for them over the years, so that's ... Spear is, as you know, it's like the Dentaltown group. It's a cult following because when somebody goes to Spear, they go to their office, they take education. They roll out a study club. They give them so many great tools to do that and a lot of it is just managed through the Spear site. For specialists, it's marketing. For GPs, it's CE credits and it's just ability to connect and learn and be a part of a community.
Howard Farran: They're starting to hire dental consultants.
Travis Rodgers: They are.
Howard Farran: How many have they hired so far?
Travis Rodgers: About ten, actually.
Howard Farran: What's their goal? How many do you think they're going to hire?
Travis Rodgers: Well, they've built or are building and they're kind of enhancing their practice management. When I say practice management, they're not replacing Eaglesoft or Dentrix. They're integrating with those products and basically giving dentists key performance indicators of what's going on in their practice. Think of it like-
Howard Farran: What would you must be thinking if you were at Eaglesoft and [inaudible 00:47:50] or dentures [inaudible 00:47:52] where there's ... They've spawned off so many companies to do the obvious. How would you like it if you just had this product and you said, "Yeah. It's so shitty that your industry created a dozen other industries just to try to make sense of your incredibly shitty product?"
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: Wouldn't that just be ...?
Travis Rodgers: They're all good partners of mine, but I-
Howard Farran: Shouldn't have Provo and Eaglesoft done all this dashboards, connected it to QuickBooks Online, made any sense of it? Then when you into any dental office on Earth and you go to the report generator, if they're on Dentrix or Eaglesoft of any of them, you go to the report generator, they've never used 85% of this crap and you ask them just five basic questions that they can't answer.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, it's become bloated and too complex.
Howard Farran: Oh my God.
Travis Rodgers: The front desk people, they're not technology folks, as you know, and I'm being nice and saying that. They need it to be easy and they need it to be web enabled and-
Howard Farran: The greatest customer service I get is when I walk into the Marriott or the Hilton or whatever and they have this streamlined, just, "These are the six questions." They know everything about me. These are the three ... I can check out and I can concentrate on it's a nice personality. It's a great feeling. Then you go open up dental practice management offices, and there are like 5,000 logos and buttons and complicated and she has to use her noodle to try to remember what she's supposed to do.
I think the number one system Dentrix and Eaglesoft could do is have a system where you just ex out of all the shit that you don't use and then set up a form ... They should got to those big consultants like Spear or Sandy Pardue or Linda Miles or Jennifer de St Georges or Sally McKenzie and say, "These are the nine modules that Sandy Pardue uses to check innovation. These are the four to check out," and get rid of everything else so that my girl can sit there and be saying, "Travis, how you doing? How's your wife and three kids doing? Have they driven you to drinking?" instead of just this massive, overwhelming complex. Then talk about integrated, when's it going to integrate with QuickBooks Online so they know their cost?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. No, I mean, so we built an integration piece. That's where the Integrated Dental piece comes in where we can integrate into QuickBooks Online. I think going back to the Dentrix piece, Dentrix did an article on us a couple years ago, and I said, "Dentrix is kind of like the iPhone of the dental industry where it's not the easiest tool to use, that's for sure, but it's what is added on top of it."
Dentrix was the first to roll out their API program, Application Programming Interface, which basically means other tools can easily tie into Dentrix to simplify things. For us, it's a benefit because we can simplify it and say, "Hey, these are your five tasks," and build you a tool-
Howard Farran: I met those boy. Dentrix, the best move they ever made is they're in Provo, Utah, straight from Gordon Christian, and they were the first one to bet on Bill Gates and Microsoft Windows. Everything else was a DOS based system where they tried to design ... Like Softnet. It's a DOS based system, but they try to make it look like it's Window-ese, but they don't have any of the Window ... They saw Bill Gates' Windows. I think it was Window 3.0-
Travis Rodgers: Well, they built it in ... You're talking about dot net, so they built their product in dot net, which is the Microsoft programming language. It sits on sequel. We did the same thing with RecordLinc just because that's kind of the standard, and yeah, they-
Howard Farran: They were the first there for [inaudible 00:51:29]
Travis Rodgers: They were, yeah.
Howard Farran: They rode that whole Microsoft, and just like Microsoft, exactly like Microsoft. The bigger Bill Gates got, you had all these DVD commercials on TV. "Hey, you want to buy my DVD program to learn how to use this horrible, shitty product?" Then there was Apple who never released anything until it was intuitive to a grandma and her six-year-old granddaughter with no bugs.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: I just wish one person would come along and be the Apple practice management software company where anybody can do it.
Travis Rodgers: Let's build it.
Howard Farran: It should be an app on a phone. The dental system shouldn't have a big monitor. It should just be an app, and everybody [inaudible 00:52:09] it could be on an iPad and it could be on the iPhone or smart phone, and just [crosstalk 00:52:15]
Travis Rodgers: That's one of the reasons why I want to bring back ... I want to develop an incubator for companies and for dentists that want to develop new products in this industry, because that type of thing is missing, and I grew up in Silicon Valley, so I saw the rise, I saw how much innovation was going on during that rise. It was ridiculous.
Of course, we had the crash. We all know what happened, and innovation slowed down considerably. How about creating a dental incubator, in other words, bringing in technology and industry experts that are dentists-
Howard Farran: Are you starting a dental incubator?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, I'm starting a dental incubator.
Howard Farran: Where's it going to be at?
Travis Rodgers: Well, it'll be virtual, but it'll be in Chandler. I think, actually, we could probably use ... I'm a part of many different entrepreneur organizations that have incubators. We could probably tie into that already if we needed the actual space, but most people want to work virtually. What we could provide them, and when I say, "we," I mean we as dental industry experts, a group of us, whoever they may be, get together, work on the funding part of it and then also just work on guidance for these companies as they're developing it, because there's a lot of people developing cool stuff, but they're doing it in a vacuum and they're not getting enough feedback and not enough market research and not enough exposure.
Howard Farran: One of the places you could have it is on Dentaltown. We have a quarter of a million people on Dentaltown, but the hottest thing, in the message boards you ask a question or post an X-ray, a quarter of a million people could see it. We started, if you go to categories, My Private Dental Groups. Now anybody can start a private dental group. If it's a private dental group and say I want to join, I can click, say, "Can I join?" You can say, "Yay, nay," you can control it. Kind of like a Facebook private group, but the difference between a Facebook private group and this is that most people that are doing Facebook, they're talking to the choir, especially progress management, it's bizarre how many of them will spend so many amazing posts on their Facebook and they've only got 1,000 friends and that's all in the choir. They could've made that post on Dentaltown and got new people in the choir. You could start a private dental group with this deal.
Travis Rodgers: The beauty of it is, inside of Dentaltown, you have that group, and then how about implementing ... You're familiar with the concept of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding some of these ideas. You looked at ... There's some amazing crowdfunding platforms, but if we ... We don't need the platform. Really, we need the pitch and we need the people that want to be involved with it.
I think to me the most important thing is not necessarily the money, but that's obviously a very important part. It's actually the guidance of those products, and not just one person's opinion, because I've built so many tools in a vacuum, and unfortunately that didn't get the exposure that I wanted to. It's creating those tools. It's getting guidance from industry experts.
Dr. Alan Farber, a periodontist in Long Island was my guidance for my tool. Without him, we wouldn't be in existence. He's been an amazing ... He's an innovative guy. We need to find more Alan Farbers. Alan Farber just started the International Association of Dental Specialists, and he's always thinking of new ideas. You're the same guy, right? People ask me what motivates me. It's not the money. It's not any of that stuff. It's building innovative things that help people solve their problems, and honestly, frees up your time.
Imagine if you didn't have to manage the scheduling or your team manages scheduling. It kind of opens you up to spend more time with your family and focus on the important things. It's the dental incubator, and we'll have to come up with a name with it. Let's built it inside of Dentaltown. Let's put some of the crowdfunding ... The beauty of it is dentists are mostly accredited investors, so accredited investors means you don't have to do crowdfunding. They can just invest because they have a net worth within themselves [crosstalk 00:56:16]
Howard Farran: We'll talk about that. That's a very detailed deal. What is the difference between crowdfunding ...
Travis Rodgers: [crosstalk 00:56:20]
Howard Farran: No, no. The younger millennials won't get it, but the other ones have been there. If someone's trying to raise money for a private venture, you have to be ...
Travis Rodgers: An accredited investor.
Howard Farran: An accredited investor. What is the hurdle for that?
Travis Rodgers: There's multiple different components of it. It's a longer conversation, but the quick cliff notes is that you have to have a net worth of a million dollars.
Howard Farran: Yeah, so your ex-wife could qualify.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Howard Farran: Crowdfunding, you don't have to have-
Travis Rodgers: You don't have to be an accredited investor.
Howard Farran: How successful is crowdfunding?
Travis Rodgers: It's been wildly successful. Yeah, the hard part with crowdfunding, just like anything, there's the top two percent that have been very successful and there's the 98% that have not been successful, but if we're focusing on the two percent ...
Howard Farran: What I think is funny is every time ... By the way, I don't sign NDAs. I quit doing it years ago. It's stupid. People know what business I'm in. I don't sell bleaching, bonding. You know what I do. I have a magazine and a website and a dental office. When you sign an NDA, you're just inviting yourself for legal fees and all that stuff, but it's funny how dentists should watch Shark Tank or the profit because every time they pitch an idea, you'd ask them those questions that every single person on Shark Tank would ask. Every single time they're like, "Uh, what?" I think there should be a Shark Tank in dentistry.
Travis Rodgers: I agree.
Howard Farran: I think there should be a video where you get like five amazing dental shark business men so these young millennials can say, "Well, here's my new idea for my new product, my new service or my new dental office." I would love to figure out a way on Dentaltown-
Travis Rodgers: All right. Let's do it. I'm not kidding when I say let's do it. This is a thing I've been thinking about doing for a while.
Howard Farran: It'd be amazing. There needs to be some place-
Travis Rodgers: Who's the other panel? Because we also need some interesting characters [crosstalk 00:58:19]
Howard Farran: ... guy, but the problem with dentists, I call it the Saddam Hussein Syndrome, or now it would be the guy in North Korea, and that is Saddam Hussein, if you ever disagreed with him, he killed you. When he'd ever ask for advice, when he invaded Kuwait, well, America can't kick us out of Kuwait, can they? All the [inaudible 00:58:41] said, "No way." Well, they actually did in 100 hours. How are you that far apart?
A dentist is a doctor, and his receptionist, assistant, hygienist are always like, "Yes, sir, Doctor. You're so smart. You're the smartest guy in the world." So after a while, he just believes his own bullshit and he thinks he's all that and a bag of chips and he needs to be able to go someplace because not many doctors have ever heard the word "No." How many doctors have ever said, "Actually, that's a very dumb idea, and let me tell you why. Let me tell you why that'll never work"? Whenever you-
Travis Rodgers: You have your yes men around you.
Howard Farran: Yeah. I remember the same thing in Catholic school. You would ask the Monsignor or the nun and you would make a legitimate question on their belief, and they were almost couldn't breathe. They're like, "What did he just say?" He said, "He just asked a very obvious question, but you live in a bubble and you're not open to a question." That's why one of the most successful characteristics I've seen of all the millionaires in dentistry, they were always humble. They always listened to their staff, their patients, their customers.
If you walked up to Dan Fischer in Ultradent with 1,500 employees and said, "Dan, I don't think this idea is going to work," he'd say, "Why?" You're safe and he loves you and he just ... They stay humble and they're always hungry and they have an insatiable curiosity for more. When you go to staff meetings, the doctor does all the talking. The staff's just sitting there, like they're in prison camp. The morning huddle, it's the same thing. You need to build an environment where everybody's speaking equally at a morning huddle and a staff meeting and everybody feels safe.
That's why dentists don't like Dentaltown and go to Facebook, because they don't ever want to post a case and have someone say, "I don't like that. I think you should've done this or that." They're like, "But I'm all that." [inaudible 01:00:47] goes to Facebook where he just deletes you as a friend and says, "I'll unfollow you or I'll block you or whatever. They loved to stay in their bubble."
Travis Rodgers: I know your staff. I know Cammy and all your teams, so I know you've developed the team that's not afraid of giving you feedback for better or worse.
Howard Farran: I love those girls. Most of them have been with me 20 ... I've still got my first dental assistant after 30 years and she doesn't [inaudible 01:01:11] saying, "Howard, that'll never work." I'm like, "Well, you've been with me for 30 years. Why? Why will do you think it won't work?" Cammy, Lori, Stacey, all those people. I still have my first programmer at Dentaltown from 1998 ... I still have my first, second, third. Nick, Angie.
The running joke at Today's Dental and Dentaltown is that I get vetoed 95% of the time and I only call the trump card one time out of 20, about 5%, and what that is it's a very irrational bet, like when I walked into Farran Report and we had a newsletter for five years. It was 10 dollars a month. It went to 4,000 dentists. It was 119 dollars a year and I said, "Starting next month, it's going to be Dentaltown, and instead of subscription, we're going to mail it to all the general dentists in the United States."
They're like, "Are you out of your fricking mind?" That was 1998. Everybody vetoed it. They even called my dad in. My dad came to my kitchen, sat there the whole day telling me, "Son, son, you're out of your mind." That's like the one out of 20 where I call the trump card and say, "No, I'm shoving this through regardless." Yeah, I love my team. I'm so lucky to have my team, and I'm so lucky that you would take an hour out of your life, drive over from Chandler to Phoenix. The inside story is I live in Phoenix, so people in Chandler, they don't like to come down to the low-class area. Did you bring a gun or did you rent an unmarked car?
Travis Rodgers: It is a very nice area here.
Howard Farran: Yeah. Imtiaz Manji comes down from Scottsdale to come here, and I figure he must be driving through the hood thinking, "What the hell am I doing? Where am I going?" I love [OT 01:02:59]. I love Chandler, too. When did you move to Chandler? What year?
Travis Rodgers: I moved here six years ago. I found the right woman. Met my soul mate. She just happened to live in the wrong place. I was living in San Diego at the time.
Howard Farran: Oh my gosh.
Travis Rodgers: San Francisco, so yeah.
Howard Farran: She must be an amazing woman.
Travis Rodgers: She's amazing.
Howard Farran: To get you to move from San Diego to Phoenix.
Travis Rodgers: Yep. Yep.
Howard Farran: You know what? You're in Silicon Valley. I lectured New Year's Eve in San Fran. Every time I go to San Francisco, I just think, "How could this not be the coolest place to live?" You wouldn't even need a car.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, you don't. Yeah.
Howard Farran: You wouldn't need a car.
Travis Rodgers: There's so many smart people just doing cool things, innovation.
Howard Farran: On my God. Everybody says that the real estate's too expensive, but the most mind blowing thing I ever had is when my aunt and uncle, my mom's brother, Chick, they retired and they had this really nice home in Portland, Oregon. They came out here and they got a little trailer. They're out [inaudible 01:03:54] "Oh my God. They live in a trailer?" They just sit there and said, "Oh my God. It's so simple. We just have a bed, a kitchen, a TV. What else do you need?" It's got amenities of the deal, but man, you can go to San Francisco and you could literally rent an apartment the size of this dining room. You just have a bed and a bathroom and a shower. You don't need anything else. Yeah, we're going to do that some day, Ry. We need to go get a condo.
Travis Rodgers: I've got a spot there. If you want to come visit, I've got a place there.
Howard Farran: In San Francisco?
Travis Rodgers: Yeah. In the Marina District. Yep. I still have a place there.
Howard Farran: Wow. That's cool. Hey, you are a serial entrepreneur. Hey, turn me onto any other people in the valley here that want to come by and talk.
Travis Rodgers: Let's do it.
Howard Farran: I love networking with my backyard. I'd rather network with my backyard.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, I agree.
Howard Farran: It's more fun to do that than network with someone in Istanbul. Hey, thanks for coming by.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah, thank you, Howard. I appreciate you having me.
Howard Farran: Best of luck.
Travis Rodgers: Thank you so much.
Howard Farran: Get on Dentaltown. Tell those people what you're doing.
Travis Rodgers: I will.
Howard Farran: Don't be a stranger. Any good ideas come, shoot me an e-mail. Howard@dentaltown.com. How can they contact you?
Travis Rodgers: They can reach me at Travis@recordlinc with a C at the end, or Travis@drdds, D-R-D-D-S. That's probably the easier one. They can reach me any time at 480-999-3342. Again, 480-999-3342. I'm always open to ideas.
Howard Farran: I just want to say one thing. I'm a DDS from UMKC, and the last seven dental schools were all DMDs. A DMD is not a real dentist. Only DDS, so you picked the right name. You know how I can prove it? Because if you go to Microsoft Outlook and you write in Travis Rodgers, DDS, it'll populate it Rodgers, Travis.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: If I go Travis Rodgers, DMD, it'll populate it DMD, Travis Rodgers. Even Microsoft doesn't recognize the DMD. My patients come in. They say, "Well, what's the difference between a DMD and a DDS?" I say, "Well, the same thing with an MD and DO. I'm the MD and there's some whacky whacked out naturalist, homeopath ..." No, I'm just kidding, but by the way, that is a problem that needs to be solved.
Travis Rodgers: Yeah.
Howard Farran: I do think that the American Dental Association should flip a coin and make them all the same because I was just trying to be funny, which maybe I was, maybe I wasn't, but it is a serious question I get, because when you're in an old state where everybody has one initial, it's not confusion, but this is a transient state, and when they come here and they see these DDS, DMDs, they're confused. If there's no distinction for the consumer, we shouldn't have them. Thanks for coming out.
Travis Rodgers: All right, buddy. Appreciate it.